With the high cost of an education these days, dishonest people are using the lure of a scholarship to cheat students and their parents of their hard earned money.

The FTC has a informative page on this trend:

According to the Federal Trade Commission, unscrupulous companies guarantee or promise scholarships, grants or fantastic financial aid packages. Many use high pressure sales pitches at seminars where you’re required to pay immediately or risk losing out on the “opportunity.”

Some unscrupulous companies guarantee that they can get scholarships on behalf of students or award them “scholarships” in exchange for an advance fee. Most offer a “money back guarantee”- but attach conditions that make it impossible to get the refund. Others provide nothing for the student’s advance fee – not even a list of potential sources; still others tell students they’ve been selected as “finalists” for awards that require an up-front fee. Sometimes, these companies ask for a student’s checking account to “confirm eligibility,” then debit the account without the student’s consent. Other companies quote only a relatively small “monthly” or “weekly” fee and then ask for authorization to debit your checking account – for an undetermined length of time.

More information on this from the FTC, here.

Also contained in the above link is information, where you can report suspected fraudulent activity to the FTC.

Advance fee schemes are nothing new in the world of fraud. If someone promises you something that’s too good to be true and doesn’t make sense, the best thing to do is ignore their offer and then report them.

The NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) has put together a nice set of links regarding this subject, also.

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